Factors influencing help-seeking from informal networks among African American victims of intimate partner violence

Katherine E. Morrison, Kathryn J. Luchok, Donna L. Richter, Deborah Parra-Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the challenges African-American women in abusive relationships face when they consider seeking-help from their informal networks. Data are reported from interviews with 15 African-American women who were self-identified as having survived physical intimate partner violence. A 13-item, semi-structured interview guide was developed in order to elicit information from participants. All of the interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for analysis. This analysis revealed emergent themes from these interviews concerning the social factors and perceptions that influence help-seeking behavior. Participants perceived their informal networks as willing to offer instrumental support. However, informal networks were not emotionally supportive. Participants also noted that the African-American community at-large believes victims of violence to be "stupid" for remaining in violent relationships. Additional results are also discussed. Results may be used to help enhance efforts to reduce the rates of intimate partner violence among African-Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1511
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2006



  • African-American
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Qualitative
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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